Nutrition is the foundation of good health and there are foods that can specifically support your body to reduce the incidence and severity of eczema. Some of the superfoods in this article will be geared towards supporting and nourishing skin health while others will target your immune system.
When buying the ingredients to make some of the eczema food recipes, it’s important to purchase organic whenever possible to avoid preservatives and pesticides that could actually trigger eczema eruptions.
If organic foods are expensive in your local grocery stores, you can look into purchasing from a local farmer’s market, co-op store, directly from a farmer, or subscribe to a produce basket from a CSA.
CSAs (community-supported agriculture) offer memberships or shares where you pay a discounted price on organic, local fruits and veggies by committing to getting a basket of goods every week (or every 2-3 weeks depending on the membership).
Websites to find more economical, local foods include Local Harvest, Eat Wild, and Eat Well Guide.
Skin Super Foods
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Fish, Free Range Meat, Walnuts, Flax, And Omega 3 Eggs
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential, which means that they are not synthesized by the body and must be consumed through diet. With developed nations’ dietary focus on factory farm meats and heavily processed starches there is a rampant deficiency in omega-3 fats. Low blood levels of EPA and DHA, specific omega-3 fats, in pregnant women have been associated with higher rates of eczema in their babies. Toddlers consuming higher amounts of omega-3 fats had lower rates and less severity of eczema when compared with children not taking the supplement.
Omega 3 fats are important for the proper development and functioning of the cell membrane, which is the outer shell of each of your cells. They are all important for vision, the lining of the nerves, and brain development. Omega 3 fats decreased inflammation, a primary mechanism for creating the redness, itching, and swelling of eczema lesions.
Omega 3 deficiency can manifest as dry skin with small bumps that resemble goose bumps on the upper arms or thighs. Deficiency in these fats was rare in the pre-industrial diet because people consumed more fish and the animal protein came from wild game or livestock that roamed pastures. Sedentary animals do not produce omega-3 fats, instead developing more saturated fats from lack of exercise and movement. Similarly, farmed fish fed a grain-rich diet do not have the same amount of omega-3 fats as wild fish in a cold-water environment.
Strive to get in at least 3 grams of these beneficial fats into your diet every day. Ideally, a person with an eczema lesion should have a diet even more influenced by essential fats, particularly omega-3 fats. Many clinicians recommend 6 or even 10 grams of omega-3 fats for eczema patients.
Fantastic Fats Eczema Food Recipe: Walnut-Crusted Salmon
- 2 pounds salmon fillets, in 4-6 pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all of the dry and wet ingredients together and coat the fillets on both sides.
Bake for 8 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. Each serving has over 10 grams of Omega 3 fats!
Fantastic Fats Eczema Food Recipe: Gluten-Free Blueberry Flax Pancakes
- ¾ cup rice flour
- ¾ cup buckwheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 2-3 tbsps ground flax seeds
- 1 1/2 cups milk, can use any kind: almond, rice, soy, or cow’s milk
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 3/4 cup blueberries
- 2 omega-3 eggs
Mix together all dry ingredients (the first 6 ingredients listed) in a medium bowl. Stir in milk and eggs with a whisk. Heat griddle or skillet and pour pancake batter.
Add a liberal sprinkle of blueberries. You can adjust the consistency by adding more milk or flour based on the desired thickness of the pancake.
Each breakfast of blueberry flax pancakes has 2.5 grams of skin-nourishing omega-3 fatty acids.
Immune System Super Foods
Medicinal Mushrooms: Maitake, Shitake & Reishi
These mushrooms, found traditionally in Asian foods, are loaded with immune system nutrients selenium, zinc, and copper. Polysaccharide components of the mushrooms called beta-glucans, exert the greatest influence on the body’s immune system. Beta-glucans are immune modulators, which means that they both up-regulate and down-regulate immune cells and messenger cytokines—they are considered immune balancing as opposed to being strictly immune stimulating.
A 2007 study of German children published in the journal Allergy found an inverse relationship between beta-glucan exposure and atopic diseases, including eczema and asthma. Animal studies have shown beta-glucan ingestion to decrease the frequency and severity of hypersensitivity reactions. This decrease in the hypersensitivity of the immune system may explain why medicinal mushrooms can help eczema sufferers.
At the same time, beta-glucans have been shown to increase beneficial immune natural killer cells and decrease the incidence of infections. Dietary consumption of beta-glucans has also been demonstrated to decrease the incidence of heart disease and cancer.
Medicinal Mushroom Eczema Food Recipe: Mushroom Rice Pilaf
- 2 cups sliced medicinal mushrooms, a combination of all of one species
- 2 cups rice
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- ¾ cup leeks, using only the white part
- ½ cup chopped and toasted pecans or almonds
- 2-3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
Warm olive oil over medium heat and sauté mushrooms for 3 minutes; add garlic and leeks and continue sautéing for an additional 5 minutes. Add rice and continuously stir the mixture until rice is lightly browned approximately 5-10 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover, and let simmer until rice is fluffy and fluid is absorbed. This step should take roughly 20 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in toasted nuts, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy your immune hearty dish!